Those "junk mail piles" are on the rise again. "Junk" mailings sent out by retailers and marketers increased 29% in the last 5 years. Marketers have found old fashion "snail mail" is still one of the best ways to reach their customers. And with 100 million people signed on to the national "do not call" registry, the amount of junk mail you receive will only increase. But there are a few steps you can take to reduce the flow of junk mail. Let's start at the beginning.
What is "Junk Mail"?
It's that unsolicited mail you receive everyday, sent out by marketers that try to match you with a product or service that they sell.
Why is "Junk Mail" making such a comeback?
Many people are suspicious of offers sent by e-mail or over the Internet, but will take time to look through ads they receive in the mail.
How did I get on all these mailing lists? How did the pile get so big?
When you made a purchase or paid for a service and provided your name and address, chances are good you were put onto a mailing list. That mailing list is maintained in a computer database and may be rented or sold to other businesses. So you may get mail from a company you never contacted or bought anything from.
How do I make the "pile" smaller?
- You can have your name and address placed on a “do not mail” list maintained by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Registering with the the DMA’s “mail preference service” will reduce the amount of direct mail you receive. There is a $1.00 fee to register for the service. Just click on the link for more information.
- You can remove the name of individuals under your care from commercial mailing lists. Family members, friends and caretakers can remove the names of individuals under by registering with the DMA’s "Do Not Contact List for Caregivers (DNCC)".
- You can also stop junk mail from being sent to a deceased relative. The Direct Marketing Association maintains a "Deceased Do Not Contact" list for use by family members of deceased persons.
- You can stop receiving many pre-approved credit card solicitations. The four major credit reporting agencies offer a service that will take you off their mailing list for pre-approved credit card solicitations. Call (1-888) 5OPT-OUT or go to OptOut Prescreen.com. If you need to contact a specific reporting agency on a credit matter, they are Equifax, Experian. Trans Union, and Innovis. (Innovis is a credit reporting service used by the real estate industry.)
- You can get off mailing lists of many catalog and publishing companies by contacting The Abacus Alliance, which offers a service that allows you to get your name removed from its lists. E-mail your request to or contact them by mail at Abacus, Inc., P. O. Box 1478, Broomfield, Co. 80038.
- You can reduce mail addressed to “resident” and occupant” by contacting ADVO, Inc. and Val-Pak Savings Coupons, two of the major companies which send this type of mail. For Val-Pak Savings Coupons, if the envelopes you receive are blue, sue the Cox Target Media Mailing Request Removal Form. If the envelopes you receive are not blue, send a request to be removed from the list by regular mail to the return address on the envelopes in which you received the coupons.
To have your name removed from the major nationwide sweepstakes mailers, contact the following:
By phone: (800) 645-9242
Christopher L. Irving, Sr. Director
Consumer & Privacy Affairs
382 Channel Drive
Port Washington, NY 11050
Readers Digest Sweepstakes
By phone: (800) 310-6261
Hearing impaired: (800) 735-4327
PO Box 50005
Prescott, AZ 86301-5005
Mail from stockbrokers and mutual fund companies can be reduced by sending written requests to be removed from lists to:
Dun and Bradstreet
899 Eaton Avenue
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18025
R. L. Polk & Co./Name Deletion File
List Compilation Development
26955 Northwestern Highway
Southfield, Michigan 48034-4716
470 Chestnut Ridge Road
Woodcliff, New Jersey 07677
Acxiom U. S.
Consumer Advocate Hotline
The U. S. Postal Service maintains a list for individuals, who do not wish to receive any sexually-oriented advertising in the mail. Contact your local Post Office or download the PS15000 form to review and complete.
- Use Junkmail Quick Letters when you make donations, mail-order purchases or renew subscriptions to avoid having your name sold to advertisers.
- By using the services listed above, you will reduce the amount of unsolicited mail you receive, but not eliminate it.
- It may take several months before you see a reduction in mail, that's because lists are updated at different times during the year, depending on the service.
- You may continue to see mail from local merchants, professional associations and political candidates.
- Mail addressed "occupant/resident" may continue to be delivered.
- Your name may not appear in the "do not mail" lists permanently. You may have to reregister after a few years, if you see an increase in "junk" mail.